Monthly Archives: August 2020

Minecraft’s combat rework snapshot adds upgradable shields

The big Minecraft combat rework has gotten a ream of updates lately, and we’ve got one more before the tests go on hiatus for a bit. Minecraft combat test snapshot 8c is a relatively small addition over snapshot 8b, but it does have one big new addition: upgradable shields.

The new snapshot lets you upgrade to a stronger shield, which has ten absorption instead of the normal five, as well as increased knockback resistance. In the snapshot, you can upgrade your shield by attaching a banner to it, but this is just for the sake of the test – if the upgrade feature gets implemented, there’ll likely be a more robust way of crafting those improvements.

This will be the last combat test snapshots for “a while”, but this is not the final test. As with all the other combat test snapshots, you won’t get this one from the launcher – instead, you’ll need to head to Reddit to download the updated snapshot and install it directly.

Combat Mission Shock Force 2 is finally on Steam

If you know about Combat Mission Shock Force 2, then you know that it’s a big deal that it’s finally arrived on Steam. Battlefront’s simulation-heavy wargames have only been available from the developer’s official online storefront for years, and not only is Shock Force 2 on Steam now, it’s also deeply discounted – another rarity for Battlefront.

For the duration of its first week on Steam, you can pick up Combat Mission Shock Force 2 for 30% off the list price. That puts the base game at $41.99 USD / £32.54 until September 7. Its three DLC packs, which include expansions for NATO Forces, British Forces, and US Marines, remain at their standard price point of $34.99 / £27.79 individually, but you get a 38% discount on the complete set, which reduces the price of Shock Force 2 and all three expansions from $164.96 to $102.86.

That’s on the fairly expensive side for a game that’s nearly two years old, but Combat Mission Shock Force 2 is a serious piece of wargaming software. It’s serious enough that Battlefront does brisk business with professional military trainers around the world, who have used Combat Mission software for various military training purposes over the years.

Eiyuden Chronicle is the third-biggest videogame Kickstarter ever

While there’s a lot more public skepticism of videogame Kickstarters these days, it seems that crowdfunding isn’t done yet. Suikoden successor Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes has just completed its Kickstarter campaign with over $4.5 million USD raised, making it the third-biggest videogame Kickstarter ever.

More precisely, Eiyuden Chronicle closed its Kickstarter campaign with a total of ¥481,621,841 raised from 46,307 backers. The only videogame Kickstarters bigger have been Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which raised $5.5 million in 2015, and Shenmue 3, which raised $6.3 million later that same year. (Star Citizen earned $2.1 million through Kickstarter in 2012, but has ended up picking up far, far more through other crowdfunding sources since.)

Eiyuden Chronicle achieved every single stretch goal the developers offered up, including console ports, additional characters, minigames, voiced cutscenes, orchestrated music, farming systems, DLC, and even a separate companion game from Natsume – a ‘town creation RPG’ which will let you transfer some materials into Eiyuden Chronicle for a head start on crafting.

Total War: Three Kingdoms is getting a free update with a full campaign map rework

Total War: Three Kingdoms will see its first true expansion in The Furious Wild, which launches September 3. It adds the Nanman tribes, which include four playable factions and characters, and its own mini-campaign. But all Total War: Three Kingdoms players will be seeing a major free update to the game when The Furious Wild arrives, and it includes a major map rework, a new character, a new type of battlefield, and more.

The biggest change coming with the 1.6.0 patch for Total War: Three Kingdoms is the campaign map rework. Creative Assembly has done a pass on the entire map, adding new commanderies, correcting and adding names, and slotting in new commanderies for the new Nanman region in the southwest. The developer has also added strategic chokepoints, which accommodate the new kind of tactical battle, the gate pass battle.

Gate pass battles take place, as you might expect, at gate passes, which are a new type of settlement placed in strategic chokepoints. The maps are essentially fortified towns with two avenues of approach arranged opposite to each other. Attacking armies will deploy on whichever side of the settlement they approach from and fight their way through.

Horizon Zero Dawn’s latest patch fixes footprints in the snow

Horizon Zero Dawn has been out on PC for less than a month, but it’s already seen a string of patches meant to address reports of frequent crashes and poor performance. The latest patch is out now, and it addresses another standing concern: snow that didn’t let you leave footprints in it.

Patch 1.03 came out today, and its topline fixes are a list of crashes that occurred under specific circumstances. Crashes have been perhaps the most common complaint PC users have had with Horizon Zero Dawn’s recent port, and Guerrilla Games says it’s continuing to track down issues – and using community-compiled bug reports to help.

One issue that’s been plaguing the game since launch, however, is addressed for the first time in patch 1.03, and that’s the lack of deformable snow in areas where Aloy is supposed to leave footprints. Guerrilla says simply that it’s “fixed an issue where snow deformation was not working correctly in the Frozen Wilds area.” That’s certainly welcome news: why even go to the Frozen Wilds if you can’t make snow angels?

Halo Infinite might be delayed, but its Monster Energy XP boosts are not

Halo Infinite was scheduled to launch for both PC and consoles alongside Xbox Series X this November, but it’s been delayed until 2021. But this late-stage delay means that some major marketing promotions for Infinite are still going on as originally scheduled, which means you can now start collecting cosmetics and XP boosts for the eventual Halo Infinite release date.

From September 1 to December 31, each can of Monster Energy that you purchase will get you a 30-minute double XP boost, up to a total of 60 hours you can bank ahead of Halo Infinite’s launch. The cans will also unlock a Snapchat filter so that you can, as the announcement says, “become the Master Chief”. There’ll also be monthly challenges that let you unlock a set of garish green-and-black weapon skins.

Yeah, it’s all extremely dumb and marketing-y, but it does indicate just how late the decision to actually delay the new Halo came through – too late, apparently, to stop the big cross-promotion deals already in place. You might wonder how Microsoft would hesitate to delay Infinite after the mixed showing in July, but a warehouse full of Monster cans with Master Chief on them might have something to do with it.

World of Warcraft system requirements raised for Shadowlands

If you’ve been enjoying your MMORPGs on an aging potato of a gaming machine, you might want to pay special attention to the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands system requirements. The minimum and recommended specs are once again increasing with this expansion, moving up to a new generation of CPUs and GPUs. But it’s more likely to be your hard drive that needs an upgrade.

Blizzard now suggests a minimum of an Intel i5 3450 or an AMD FX 8300 for your CPU, up from an i5 760 or FX 8100 previously. The minimum GPU requirements are increasing, too – you’ll need an Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 or AMD Radeon RX 560, up from a GTX 560 or a Radeon HD 7850.

The recommended specs now push for an i7 6700K or Ryzen 7 2700 X, up from an i7-4770 or FX 8310. A GTX 1080 or RX Vega 64 is now recommended, up from a GTX 960 or R9 280.

This Dota 2 and League of Legends app translates between the two MOBAs

If you’re a diehard Dota 2 player, or League of Legends aficionado, and have always wanted to check out your rival MOBA game, a handy calculator has been made to do just that.

Demoed on his YouTube channel, creator Tzar Potato runs through the mobile app. You can select champions and items, then input what your favourite or go-to is, and then the application will give you a list of recommendations that have a statistical match to your choice. The example in the video for champions is Dota 2’s Batrider – Tzar selects Batrider, and is then given the League’s most Batrider-like champion, Singed. The pair have fire trail and target stun, and both are in the same lane. Clicking into Singed – or any other champion – shows all the other characters they’re matched with, opening the possibility to work through different champions on a similar wavelength to find what really makes you comfortable.

Next is the items, and Tzar shows the choices for Dota 2’s Drum of Endurance. The top pick is LoL’s Shurelya’s Reverie, which is for spellcasters, but he wants something better for a tank, so goes for Dead Man’s Plate instead. Buttons at the top let you switch between Dota 2 and LoL at any point, so you can also browse at your leisure. All the common terminology is included, and the layout is easy to understand in the video, if currently unpolished.

Fall Guys is a sex game now

Fall Guys is a quasi-battle royale game, and now it’s a sex game too. Using some open source sex toy technology, you can have the vibrations of the multiplayer game sent to your sexual assistant of choice, and have a right old time.

Daily Dot NSFW reporter Ana Valens demonstrated the experience recently on a stream. Essentially, you’re hooking up a vibrator to whatever machine you’re playing Fall Guys on, and whenever the controller would normally rumble, your toy does so instead. It’s done using the Intiface Games Haptics Router, a piece of tech from creator Kyle Machulis that turns games into “intimate interaction environments”. Generally speaking, anything that has ‘Xbox Gamepad Compatible’ can be used, and most VR games made in Unity can work with it, too.

You can view a clip of Ana’s stream below, and as you might imagine, the already playful game has become all the more giggle-inducing. Tech like this has existed in the games industry for years now – the PlayStation 2 had a peripheral not far off what’s happening here. The simplicity and sheer chaos of Fall Guys lends itself quite easily to this kind of foreplay (for lack of a better word).

Leagues of Legends is punishing players for going AFK

Facing an opponent that goes AFK or otherwise doesn’t play properly can ruin any multiplayer game, and the League of Legends devs are working to fix that. New measures to prevent going AFK, or throwing a match somehow, have been rolled out, and they’re already seeing positive results.

In the September blog update, competitive gameplay product manager Cody Germain ran through the punishments that have been put in place in the MOBA game, and the current success rates. First up is the detection and penalties for going away-from-keyboard, which are going well in the regions implemented so far. “In some test regions, players hit our AFK punishment thresholds faster, meaning a steady increase in penalty application,” Germain writes. “In other test regions, we saw a steady decline in both AFK detection and penalties after an initial immediate burst that occurred when we tightened our thresholds. This signals a reduction in repeat offenses, which is a trend we would like to see continued.”

Ramifications for intent to lose, on the other hand, didn’t go so smoothly. A substantial amount of false positives has meant Riot has shelved them for the time-being. As an added measure, players who find themselves in a match with someone who’s clearly just stopped playing properly will be allowed leave earlier, so they can find another proper opponent. “We are going to update the surrender system to account for AFK players on your team,” Germain says. “When an AFK is detected, we will refresh the surrender cooldown and alert your whole team, allowing you to surrender again immediately.” Early surrender will ship in update 10.22.

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